Lib Dem councillor ‘right’ to face probe

Wigan Town Hall
Wigan Town Hall

THE chief executive of the council has explained why it called in police to investigate alleged forgery within an officer email.

Tyldesley ward councillor Robert Bleakley - a former Lib Dem agent of the year - has admitted inserting his own “malicious” claims purporting to be about director of economy Steve Normington into the official communication and then sending it on to other councillors, claiming it to be genuine.

The email targeted by Coun Bleakley was about grit and salt allocations per ward and the phrases he inserted claimed that planning and development chief Mr Normington had told staff not to deal with inquiries from members of the borough opposition councillor groups but to favour the ruling Labour Group members instead.

Coun Bleakley, who is said by his supporters to be traumatised by the death of his mum earlier in the year, said that he had been “foolish” and apologised unreservedly.

But chief executive of the council Donna Hall said: “This is a very serious complaint and councillor Bleakley’s allegations could have resulted in the dismissal of two council officers.

“Councillors should think carefully before making fictitious allegations.

“It’s very disappointing that this councillor has clearly not learnt lessons from his previous two suspensions from the council by the Standards Board for England.

“Council officers have a right to come to work and do their job without being attacked by elected members. I will not allow my officers to be maligned.”